Management of cancer pain in the community: Perceptions of current UK information technology systems and implications for future development

Paul G Dempster, Bridgette M Bewick, Richard Jones, Michael I Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective of this study was to investigate perceptions of how information technology (IT) is currently utilised in the UK in the community management of cancer pain, perceived weaknesses in the current systems and expectations of future IT systems. Healthcare professionals and patient representatives (n = 46) attended two meetings that explored perceptions of current and future provision of managing cancer pain in the community and the potential role of informatics in supporting this. Discussion was captured and analysed using qualitative methods. Analysis revealed that complexities and barriers to the routine capture of data on pain and related distress focused on locations of care, circles of support, and management and sharing of data. In addition, analysis revealed IT was perceived to be peripheral to supporting delivery and organisation. Delegates shared a vision for an IT system that enabled patients to access healthcare provision by effective co-ordination and communication of patient-centred information. Gaps exist between the expectations of users and the ability of current IT systems to support care. While recognising the potential of tele-health solutions, supporting the complexity of multi-agency care delivery in rapidly evolving clinical circumstances was seen as the main challenge. There is, therefore, a need to position IT more flexibly within the delivery model of clinical care if technology is to address current limitations and enhance the community management of cancer pain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-93
Number of pages10
JournalHealth informatics journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012

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